Some Call it Treasure
Junk toys my grandparents called them,
three bags, one for each boy, filled with stuff
my kids loved: stickers, red caps popped off
whipped cream cans, magnets, corks, rubbery
spiders and lizards, random board game tokens
all dumped across the floor, plastic that poked
bare feet, clogged the vacuum cleaner, spread
through my house. I wonder who had more fun—
little boys sorting through treasure or my grandparents
on the hunt for it all, strolling through Leisure World
looking for bits of sparkle the gardener’s broom missed,
stooping to grab a marble or tiny pencil,
crossing a parking lot and spotting a stray
Happy Meal toy, amassing piles of plastic surprises.
When Grandpa died, my sons gave
their great grandmother a box of dinosaurs,
striped dragons, and an orange frog—
a zoo of creatures to keep her company.
Editor’s Note: The playful sounds of this poem and the short phrases deftly portray children’s joy. The pace slows down when the grandparents enter the poem to indicate the mood change. The ending is touching.
Victoria Melekian lives in Carlsbad, California. Her stories and poems have been published in Mudfish, Literary Orphans, Atlanta Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Word Riot, and other anthologies. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a runner-up in the 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash Award. Her story “What I Don’t Tell Him” aired on NPR. She’s twice won a San Diego Book Award.